Wednesday, February 25, 2009

does it pay to be first in the queue?

blame it on the kiasu mentality. the typical singaporean wants to/must be first in any queue. and you see queues everywhere - at the bus-stop, at the food-court, at the theatre, outside the (ladies) toilet, outside s'pore pools outlets (toto and 4d) and many other places.

they are queues for the latest harry potter book, the perceived delicious donuts, nasi lemak, char kway teow, nasi bryani and minced meat mee. whatever they think will appreciate in value in later years is sure to attract long lines of people. you find snaking line of ordinary people waiting to book prime district condominiums. the latest i have just heard is that there was an overnight queue for free rides on the s'pore flyer.

some are not very well informed when they try to be at the head of a queue. for example, the queue for places for children who are going to be in primary one. for very popular schools where balloting of places is bound to take place, whether you have queue number 1 or queue number 401, you chances of getting into the school depends on your luck, not your position in the queue.

it is not as though i don't queue. after all, i am a true blue singaporean. when i go and eat my favourite wanton mee at lavendar food court, i do not mind waiting for more than half an hour in the queue.

but this one takes the cake. it is an incident related to a queue of sort. i encountered this car on the bukit timah expressway the other day. he overtook me and every other car and vehicle. he was overtaking quite recklessly, moving on the left and going onto the shoulder of the expressway while doing so. he seemed bent on beating everyone so that he could be at the head of the 'queue'.

i was wondering: where is this crazy driver hurrying to. then i saw the gantry. he was trying to beat everyone to get past the gantry. he almost succeeded. he did emerge the first to reach the gantry. however, when he reached the point, the lights came on, signalling the start of the operation. he was first.... in the queue to pay the electronic road pricing (erp) charge for the day.

i don't think the rash driver was happy about being first in that queue!


Lam Chun See said...

At hawker centres, I always take the stall with shortest or no queue. (1) Waiting spoils my mood (2) Those popular stall owners tend to be 'yah-yah'. (3) Those without queues are more appreciative of your business.

Victor said...

Chun See, another point you could add is that stalls with no queue tend to sell food that is quite tasteless/bland and therefore is more healthy for people of our age.

fr said...

Vic: I think the other way round - the food not tasty, so they add more sauce and msg

yg: there is a wanton mee stall at lorong 13 where you also have to q for 1/2h.

nah said...

The general impression for food is always this: If there is a queue, it must be good.I queue if it's really heavenly stuff... but sometimes, the food may not be that fantastically good.
To queue to see a doctor at a polyclinic when you are sick is a real torture. First, you have to get a queue number to register for an appointment to see the doctor. Then you have to queue to have your BP checked. Then you go to another queue to see the doctor. Followed by, you have to queue to collect your medicines, and another queue to settle your bill… That can be two to four hours, and you only get a few minutes with the doctor.